Women are 8 times more likely than men to injure an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The female ACL has estrogen and relaxin receptors, which affect the integrity of the tissue as the hormones rise and fall. Relaxin, a hormone produced by the corpus luteum, affects connective-tissue elasticity by decreasing collagen, thus weakening the tissue’s strength. Women may be more susceptible to ACL injuries during the menstrual cycle. Taking oral contraceptive pills may decrease a woman’s risk of injuring the ACL by preventing cyclic fluctuations in hormone levels.
1Department of Physician Assistant Studies, Mercer University College of Health Professions, Atlanta, Georgia